Age of Fracture
Daniel T. Rodgers Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress E169.12.R587 2011 | Dewey Decimal 973.91
Rodgers presents the first broadly gauged history of the ideas and arguments that profoundly reshaped America in the last quarter of the twentieth century. From the ways in which Ronald Reagan changed the formulas of the Cold War presidency to the era’s intense debates over gender, race, economics, and history, it maps the dynamics through which mid-twentieth-century ideas of structure fell apart between the mid 1970s and the end of the century. Where conventional histories of modern America have focused on specific decades, the book traces the larger transformations in social ideas and visions that reshaped the era from the early 1970s through the end of the century.
In Alimentary Tracts Parama Roy argues that who eats and with whom, who starves, and what is rejected as food are questions fundamental to empire, decolonization, and globalization. In crucial ways, she suggests, colonialism reconfigured the sensorium of colonizer and colonized, generating novel experiences of desire, taste, and appetite as well as new technologies of the embodied self. For colonizers, Indian nationalists, diasporic persons, and others in the colonial and postcolonial world orders, the alimentary tract functioned as an important corporeal, psychoaffective, and ethicopolitical contact zone, in which questions of identification, desire, difference, and responsibility were staged.
Interpreting texts that have addressed cooking, dining, taste, hungers, excesses, and aversions in South Asia and its diaspora since the mid-nineteenth century, Roy relates historical events and literary figures to tropes of disgust, abstention, dearth, and appetite. She analyzes the fears of pollution and deprivation conveyed in British accounts of the so-called Mutiny of 1857, complicates understandings of Mohandas K. Gandhi’s vegetarianism, examines the “famine fictions” of the novelist-actor Mahasweta Devi, and reflects on the diasporic cookbooks and screen performances of Madhur Jaffrey. This account of richly visceral global modernity furnishes readers with a new idiom for understanding historical action and cultural transformation.
The image of the shadow in mid-twentieth-century America appeared across a variety of genres and media including poetry, pulp fiction, photography, and film. Drawing on an extensive framework that ranges from Cold War cultural histories to theorizations of psychoanalysis and the Gothic, Erik Mortenson argues that shadow imagery in 1950s and 1960s American culture not only reflected the anxiety and ambiguity of the times but also offered an imaginative space for artists to challenge the binary rhetoric associated with the Cold War.
After contextualizing the postwar use of shadow imagery in the wake of the atomic bomb, Ambiguous Borderlands looks at shadows in print works, detailing the reemergence of the pulp fiction crime fighter the Shadow in the late-1950s writings of Sylvia Plath, Amiri Baraka, and Jack Kerouac. Using Freudian and Jungian conceptions of the unconscious, Mortenson then discusses Kerouac’s and Allen Ginsberg’s shared dream of a “shrouded stranger” and how it shaped their Beat aesthetic. Turning to the visual, Mortenson examines the dehumanizing effect of shadow imagery in the Cold War photography of Robert Frank, William Klein, and Ralph Eugene Meatyard. Mortenson concludes with an investigation of the use of chiaroscuro in 1950s film noir and the popular television series The Twilight Zone, further detailing how the complexities of Cold War society were mirrored across these media in the ubiquitous imagery of light and dark.
From comics to movies, Beats to bombs, Ambiguous Borderlands provides a novel understanding of the Cold War cultural context through its analysis of the image of the shadow in midcentury media. Its interdisciplinary approach, ambitious subject matter, and diverse theoretical framing make it essential reading for anyone interested in American literary and popular culture during the fifties and sixties.
As the waves of Occupy movements gradually recede, we soon forget the political hope and passions these events have offered. Instead, we are increasingly entrenched in the simplified dichotomies of Left and Right, us and them, hating others and victimizing oneself. Studying Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement, which might be the largest Occupy movement in recent years, The Appearing Demos urges us to re-commit to democracy at a time when democracy is failing on many fronts and in different parts of the world.
The 79-day-long Hong Kong Umbrella Movement occupied major streets in the busiest parts of the city, creating tremendous inconvenience to this city famous for capitalist order and efficiency. It was also a peaceful collective effort of appearance, and it was as much a political event as a cultural one. The urge for expressing an independent cultural identity underlined both the Occupy movement and the remarkably rich cultural expressions it generated. While understanding the specificity of Hong Kong’s situations, The Appearing Demos also comments on some global predicaments we are facing in the midst of neoliberalism and populism. It directs our attention from state-based sovereignty to city-based democracy, and emphasizes the importance of participation and cohabitation. The book also examines how the ideas of Hannah Arendt are useful to those happenings much beyond the political circumstances that gave rise to her theorization. The book pays particular attention to the actual intersubjective experiences during the protest. These experiences are local, fragile, and sometimes inarticulable, therefore resisting rationality and debates, but they define the fullness of any individual, and they also make politics possible. Using the Umbrella Movement as an example, this book examines the “freed” political agents who constantly take others into consideration in order to guarantee the political realm as a place without coercion and discrimination. In doing so, Pang Laikwan demonstrates how politics means neither to rule nor to be ruled, and these movements should be defined by hope, not by goals.
The advent of the internet and the availability of social media and digital downloads have expanded the creation, distribution, and consumption of Black cultural production as never before. At the same time, a new generation of Black public intellectuals who speak to the relationship between race, politics, and popular culture has come into national prominence. The contributors to Are You Entertained? address these trends to consider what culture and blackness mean in the twenty-first century's digital consumer economy. In this collection of essays, interviews, visual art, and an artist statement the contributors examine a range of topics and issues, from music, white consumerism, cartoons, and the rise of Black Twitter to the NBA's dress code, dance, and Moonlight. Analyzing the myriad ways in which people perform, avow, politicize, own, and love blackness, this volume charts the shifting debates in Black popular culture scholarship over the past quarter century while offering new avenues for future scholarship.
Contributors. Takiyah Nur Amin, Patricia Hill Collins, Kelly Jo Fulkerson-Dikuua, Simone C. Drake, Dwan K. Henderson, Imani Kai Johnson, Ralina L. Joseph, David J. Leonard, Emily J. Lordi, Nina Angela Mercer, Mark Anthony Neal, H. Ike Okafor-Newsum, Kinohi Nishikawa, Eric Darnell Pritchard, Richard Schur, Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, Vincent Stephens, Lisa B. Thompson, Sheneese Thompson
Becoming a Nazi Townreveals the ways in which ordinary Germans changed their cultural lives and their politics from the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s. Casting the origins of Nazism in a new light, David Imhoof charts the process by which Weimar and Nazi culture flowed into each other. He analyzes this dramatic transition by looking closely at three examples of everyday cultural life in the mid-sized German city of Göttingen: sharpshooting, an opera festival, and cinema.
Imhoof draws on individual and community experiences over a series of interwar periods to highlight and connect shifts in culture, politics, and everyday life. He demonstrates how Nazi leaders crafted cultural policies based in part on homegrown cultural practices of the 1920s and argues that overdrawn distinctions between “Weimar” and “Nazi” culture did not always conform to most Germans’ daily lives. Further, Imhoof presents experiences in Göttingen as a reflection of the common reality of many German towns beyond the capital city of Berlin.
Becoming Reinaldo Arenas explores the life and work of the Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas (1943–1990), who emerged on the Latin American cultural scene in the 1960s and quickly achieved literary fame. Yet as a political dissident and an openly gay man, Arenas also experienced discrimination and persecution; he produced much of his work amid political controversy and precarious living conditions. In 1980, having survived ostracism and incarceration in Cuba, he arrived in the United States during the Mariel boatlift. Ten years later, after struggling with poverty and AIDS in New York, Arenas committed suicide.
Through insightful close readings of a selection of Arenas's works, including unpublished manuscripts and correspondence, Olivares examines the writer's personal, political, and artistic trajectory, focusing on his portrayals of family, sexuality, exile, and nostalgia. He documents Arenas's critical engagement with cultural and political developments in revolutionary Cuba and investigates the ways in which Arenas challenged literary and national norms. Olivares's analysis shows how Arenas drew on his life experiences to offer revealing perspectives on the Cuban Revolution, the struggles of Cuban exiles, and the politics of sexuality.
"Beyond Glasnost is a thoughtful exploration of the past decade's cultural and political ferment in Eastern Europe. It is also something else: an argument—in a deceptively unassuming, anti-ideological voice—about how to conceive of and move toward freedom; an argument that could hardly be more relevant to the roiling debates on the Western left."—Ellen Willis, Village Voice
The post-civil rights era of the 1970s offered African Americans an all-too-familiar paradox. Material and symbolic gains contended with setbacks fueled by resentment and reaction. African American artists responded with black approaches to expression that made history in their own time and continue to exercise an enormous influence on contemporary culture and politics. This collection's fascinating spectrum of topics begins with the literary and cinematic representations of slavery from the 1970s to the present. Other authors delve into visual culture from Blaxploitation to the art of Betye Saar to stage works like A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White as well as groundbreaking literary works like Corregidora and Captain Blackman. A pair of concluding essays concentrate on institutional change by looking at the Seventies surge of black publishing and by analyzing Ntozake Shange's for colored girls… in the context of current controversies surrounding sexual violence. Throughout, the writers reveal how Seventies black cultural production anchors important contemporary debates in black feminism and other issues while spurring the black imagination to thrive amidst abject social and political conditions.Contributors: Courtney Baker, Soyica Diggs Colbert, Madhu Dubey, Nadine Knight, Monica White Ndounou, Kinohi Nishikawa, Samantha Pinto, Jermaine Singleton, Terrion L. Williamson, and Lisa Woolfork
Chic Ironic Bitterness
R. Jay Magill, Jr. University of Michigan Press, 2007 Library of Congress E169.12.M15 2007 | Dewey Decimal 973
A brilliant and timely reflection on irony in contemporary American culture
“This book is a powerful and persuasive defense of sophisticated irony and subtle humor that contributes to the possibility of a genuine civic trust and democratic life. R. Jay Magill deserves our congratulations for a superb job!”
—Cornel West, University Professor, Princeton University
“A well-written, well-argued assessment of the importance of irony in contemporary American social life, along with the nature of recent misguided attacks and, happily, a deep conviction that irony is too important in our lives to succumb. The book reflects wide reading, varied experience, and real analytical prowess.”
—Peter Stearns, Provost, George Mason University
“Somehow, Americans—a pragmatic and colloquial lot, for the most part—are now supposed to speak the Word, without ironic embellishment, in order to rebuild the civic culture. So irony’s critics decide it has become ‘worthy of moral condemnation.’ Magill pushes back against this new conventional wisdom, eloquently defending a much livelier American sensibility than the many apologists for a somber ‘civic culture’ could ever acknowledge."
—William Chaloupka, Chair and Professor, Department of Political Science, Colorado State University
The events of 9/11 had many pundits on the left and right scrambling to declare an end to the Age of Irony. But six years on, we're as ironic as ever. From The Simpsons and Borat to The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, the ironic worldview measures out a certain cosmopolitan distance, keeping hypocrisy and threats to personal integrity at bay.
Chic Ironic Bitterness is a defense of this detachment, an attitude that helps us preserve values such as authenticity, sincerity, and seriousness that might otherwise be lost in a world filled with spin, marketing, and jargon. And it is an effective counterweight to the prevailing conservative view that irony is the first step toward cynicism and the breakdown of Western culture.
R. Jay Magill, Jr., is a writer and illustrator whose work has appeared in American Prospect, American Interest, Atlantic Monthly, Foreign Policy, International Herald Tribune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Print, amongother periodicals and books. A former Harvard Teaching Fellow and Executive Editor of DoubleTake, he holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Hamburg in Germany. This is his first book.
Sucheng Chan introduces this valuable new anthology with a commanding discussion of the field of Chinese American studies, in which she examines its history and points the way ahead. Here she and Madeline Y. Hsu have brought together leading-edge scholarship from a new generation of thinkers, as useful for scholars as it is for undergraduate readers.
The contributors address a broad range of issues, from the activism of left-wing and Communist Chinese immigrants to the U.S. in the 1920s and early 1930s and humanitarian relief during the Sino-Japanese War to the construction of new Chinese regional identities in New York.
The May 1926 coup d’état in Poland inaugurated what has become known as the period of sanacja or “cleansing.” The event has been explored in terms of the impact that it had on state structures and political styles. But for both supporters and opponents of the post-May regime, the sanacja was a catalyst for debate about Polish national identity, about citizenship and responsibility to the nation, and about postwar sexual morality and modern gender identities.
The Clash of Moral Nations is a study of the political culture of interwar Poland, as reflected in and by the coup. Eva Plach shifts the focus from strictly political contexts and examines instead the sanacja’s open-ended and malleable language of purification, rebirth, and moral regeneration.
In tracking the diverse appropriations and manipulations of the sanacja concept, Plach relies on a wide variety of texts, including the press of the period, the personal and professional papers of notable interwar women activists, and the official records of pro-sanacja organizations, such as the Women’s Union for Citizenship Work.
The Clash of Moral Nations introduces an important cultural and gendered dimension to understandings of national and political identity in interwar Poland.
The onset of the Cold War in the 1940s and 1950s precipitated the exile of many U.S. writers, artists, and filmmakers to Mexico. Rebecca M. Schreiber illuminates the work of these cultural exiles in Mexico City and Cuernavaca and reveals how their artistic collaborations formed a vital and effective culture of resistance.
As Schreiber recounts, the first exiles to arrive in Mexico after World War II were visual artists, many of them African-American, including Elizabeth Catlett, Charles White, and John Wilson. Individuals who were blacklisted from the Hollywood film industry, such as Dalton Trumbo and Hugo Butler, followed these artists, as did writers, including Willard Motley. Schreiber examines the artists’ work with the printmaking collective Taller de Gráfica Popular and the screenwriters’ collaborations with filmmakers such as Luis Buñuel, as well as the influence of the U.S. exiles on artistic and political movements.
The Cold War culture of political exile challenged American exceptionalist ideology and, as Schreiber reveals, demonstrated the resilience of oppositional art, literature, and film in response to state repression.
Lee Konstantinou Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress BH301.I7K66 2016 | Dewey Decimal 813.540918
Lee Konstantinou examines irony in American literary and political life, showing how it migrated from the countercultural margins of the 1950s to the 1980s mainstream. Along the way, irony was absorbed into postmodern theory and ultimately become a target of recent writers who have moved beyond its limitations with a practice of “postirony.”
Jean Franco’s work as a pathbreaking theorist, cultural critic, and scholar has helped to define Latin American studies over the last three decades. In the process, Franco has played a crucial role in developing cultural studies in both the English- and Spanish-speaking worlds. Critical Passions is the first volume to gather a wide-ranging selection of Franco’s influential essays. A key participant in the major debates in Latin American studies—beginning with the “boom” period of the 1960s and continuing through debates on ideology and discourse, Marxism, mass culture, and postmodernism—Franco is recognized for her feminist critique of Latin American writing. While her principal books are all readily available, Franco’s several dozen articles are dispersed in a variety of periodicals in Latin America, Europe, and the United States. Although many of these essays are considered pioneering and classic, they have never before been collected in a single work. In this volume, Mary Louise Pratt and Kathleen Newman have organized the essays into four interrelated sections: feminism and the critique of authoritarianism, mass and popular culture, Latin American literature from the “boom” onward, and the cultural history of Mexico. As a group, these writings demonstrate Franco’s ability to reflect on and judge with equal seriousness all spheres of expression, whether subway graffiti, a fashion manual, or an avant-garde haiku. A bona fide fan of popular and mass media, Franco never allows her critiques to dissolve into the puritanical or reductive; instead, she finds ways to present and debate complex theoretical questions in direct and accessible language. This volume will draw an extensive readership in Latin American, cultural, and women’s studies.
Are the "culture wars" over? When did they begin? What is their relationship to gender struggle and the dynamics of class? In her first full treatment of postcolonial studies, a field that she helped define, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, one of the world's foremost literary theorists, poses these questions from within the postcolonial enclave.
Up to 2012, Mali was a poster child of African democracy, despite multiple signs of growing dissatisfaction with the democratic experiment. Then disaster struck, bringing many of the nation's unresolved contradictions to international attention. A military coup carved off the country's south. A revolt by a coalition of Tuareg and extremist Islamist forces shook the north. The events, so violent and unexpected, forced experts to reassess Mali's democratic institutions and the neoliberal economic reforms enacted in conjunction with the move toward democracy. Rosa De Jorio's detailed study of cultural heritage and its transformations provides a key to understanding the impasse that confronts Malian democracy. As she shows, postcolonial Mali privileged its cultural heritage to display itself on the regional and international scene. The neoliberal reforms both intensified and altered this trend. Profiling heritage sites ranging from statues of colonial leaders to women's museums to historic Timbuktu, De Jorio portrays how various actors have deployed and contested notions of heritage. These actors include not just Malian administrators and politicians but UNESCO, and non-state NGOs. She also delves into the intricacies of heritage politics from the perspective of Malian actors and groups, as producers and receivers--but always highly informed and critically engaged--of international, national and local cultural initiatives.
Reknowned historian Roger Chartier, one of the most brilliant and productive of the younger generation of French writers and scholars now at work refashioning the Annales tradition, attempts in this book to analyze the causes of the French revolution not simply by investigating its “cultural origins” but by pinpointing the conditions that “made is possible because conceivable.” Chartier has set himself two important tasks. First, while acknowledging the seminal contribution of Daniel Mornet’s Les origens intellectuelles de la Révolution française (1935), he synthesizes the half-century of scholarship that has created a sociology of culture for Revolutionary France, from education reform through widely circulated printed literature to popular expectations of government and society. Chartier goes beyond Mornet’s work, not be revising that classic text but by raising questions that would not have occurred to its author. Chartier’s second contribution is to reexamine the conventional wisdom that there is a necessary link between the profound cultural transformation of the eighteenth century (generally characterized as the Enlightenment) and the abrupt Revolutionary rupture of 1789. The Cultural Origins of the French Revolution is a major work by one of the leading scholars in the field and is likely to set the intellectual agenda for future work on the subject.
Understanding politics in nations other than your own is a perilous exercise. If you were to read two newspaper articles on the same topic but from different countries, you would likely find two very different interpretations of the same event. But how we think about what is written in our own country seems somehow less distorted, less wrong. So which side is right? And from what reference point can we begin to compare the two?
Culture Troubles is a systematic reevaluation of the role of culture in political analysis. Here, Patrick Chabal and Jean-Pascal Daloz contend that it is unwise to compare different societies without taking into account culture, which in their interpretation is not a system of values, but rather a system of inherited meanings and symbols. This cultural approach, they argue, can attribute meaning to political comparison, and they outline the shape of that approach, one that draws from an eclectic range of sources. Illustrating the sharpness and acuity of their methods, they proceed with a comparative study of the state and political representation in three very different nations—France, Nigeria, and Sweden—to untangle the many ways that culture informs our understanding of political events. As a result, Culture Troubles offers a rational starting point from which we may begin to understand foreign politics.
In Culture Wars in Brazil Daryle Williams analyzes the contentious politicking over the administration, meaning, and look of Brazilian culture that marked the first regime of president-dictator Getúlio Vargas (1883–1954). Examining a series of interconnected battles waged among bureaucrats, artists, intellectuals, critics, and everyday citizens over the state’s power to regulate and consecrate the field of cultural production, Williams argues that the high-stakes struggles over cultural management fought between the Revolution of 1930 and the fall of the Estado Novo dictatorship centered on the bragging rights to brasilidade—an intangible yet highly coveted sense of Brazilianness. Williams draws on a rich selection of textual, pictorial, and architectural sources in his exploration of the dynamic nature of educational film and radio, historical preservation, museum management, painting, public architecture, and national delegations organized for international expositions during the unsettled era in which modern Brazil’s cultural canon took definitive form. In his close reading of the tensions surrounding official policies of cultural management, Williams both updates the research of the pioneer generation of North American Brazilianists, who examined the politics of state building during the Vargas era, and engages today’s generation of Brazilianists, who locate the construction of national identity of modern Brazil in the Vargas era. By integrating Brazil into a growing body of literature on the cultural dimensions of nations and nationalism, Culture Wars in Brazil will be important reading for students and scholars of Latin American history, state formation, modernist art and architecture, and cultural studies.
Cultured States is a vivid account of the intersections of postcolonial state power, the cultural politics of youth and gender, and global visions of modern style in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, during the 1960s and early 1970s. Andrew Ivaska describes a cosmopolitan East African capital rocked by debates over youth culture, national cultural policy, the rumored sexual escapades of the postcolonial elite, the content of university education, leftist activism, and the reform of colonial-era marriage laws. If young Tanzanians saw themselves as full-fledged participants in modern global culture, their understandings of the modern conflicted with that of a state launching “decency campaigns” banning cultural forms such as soul music, miniskirts, wigs, and bell-bottoms. Promoted by the political elite as a radical break from the colonial order, these campaigns nonetheless contained strong echoes of colonial assumptions about culture, tradition, and African engagements with the modern city. Exploring the ambivalence over the modern at the heart of these contests, Ivaska uses them as lenses through which to analyze struggles around gender relations and sexual politics, youth and masculinity, and the competition for material resources in a Dar es Salaam in rapid flux. Cultured States is a major contribution to understandings of urban cultural politics; national political culture; social struggles around gender, generation, and wealth; and the transnational dimensions of postcolonial histories too often conceived within national frames.
Cultures of Yusin examines the turbulent and yet deeply formative years of Park Chung Hee’s rule in South Korea, focusing on the so-called Yusin era (1972–79). Beginning with the constitutional change that granted dictatorial powers to the president and ending with his assassination, Yusin was a period of extreme political repression coupled with widespread mobilization of the citizenry towards the statist gospel of modernization and development. While much has been written about the political and economic contours of this period, the rich complexity of its cultural production remains obscure. This edited volume brings together a wide range of scholars to explore literature, film, television, performance, music, and architecture, as well as practices of urban and financial planning, consumption, and homeownership. Examining the plural forms of culture’s relationship to state power, the authors illuminate the decade of the 1970s in South Korea and offer an essential framework for understanding contemporary Korean society.
The Cynical Society is a study of the political despair and abdication of (individual) responsibility Goldfarb calls cynicism—a central but unexamined aspect of contemporary American political and social life. Goldfarb reveals with vivid strokes how cynicism undermines our capacity to think about society's strengths and weaknesses. Drawing on thinkers from Alexis de Tocqueville to Allan Bloom and on such recent works as Beloved, Bonfire of the Vanities, and Mississippi Burning, The Cynical Society celebrates cultural pluralism's role in democracy.
Though Meredith Martin is primarily an art historian, this book goes way beyond art history. It examines “pleasure dairies,” built by the French aristocracy to be sites of leisure, healing, and simple luxury, from the vantage point of cultural studies as well as social and political history. The traditional historical narrative, still deeply resonant, is that these dairies were little more than frivolous excess or attempts to imagine “common life” by people so wealthy they could not even imagine poverty. But Martin complicates this picture. She examines the social, cultural, and political uses of these dairies, showing that they were in fact instrumental as sites that both reinforced and challenged definitions of femininity. The dairies provided strategic venues for noble women to assert their status and identity while at the same time appearing to retreat from power. They served the functions of a spa, where fresh milk and beautiful scenery helped women recover their health. They also are tangible evidence of the new valorization of country living, which was expressed also in political debates about improving the countryside and reforming the aristocracy, especially elite women.
In The Difference Aesthetics Makes cultural critic Kandice Chuh asks what the humanities might be and do if organized around what she calls “illiberal humanism” instead of around the Western European tradition of liberal humanism that undergirds the humanities in their received form. Recognizing that the liberal humanities contribute to the reproduction of the subjugation that accompanies liberalism's definition of the human, Chuh argues that instead of defending the humanities, as has been widely called for in recent years, we should radically remake them. Chuh proposes that the work of artists and writers like Lan Samantha Chang, Carrie Mae Weems, Langston Hughes, Leslie Marmon Silko, Allan deSouza, Monique Truong, and others brings to bear ways of being and knowing that delegitimize liberal humanism in favor of more robust, capacious, and worldly senses of the human and the humanities. Chuh presents the aesthetics of illiberal humanism as vital to the creation of sensibilities and worlds capable of making life and lives flourish.
At some point in their career, nearly all the dancers who worked with George Balanchine were told “don’t act, dear; just dance.” The dancers understood this as a warning against melodramatic over-interpretation and an assurance that they had all the tools they needed to do justice to the steps—but its implication that to dance is already to act in a manner both complete and sufficient resonates beyond stage and studio.
Drawing on fresh archival material, Don’t Act, Just Dance places dance at the center of the story of the relationship between Cold War art and politics. Catherine Gunther Kodat takes Balanchine’s catch phrase as an invitation to explore the politics of Cold War culture—in particular, to examine the assumptions underlying the role of “apolitical” modernism in U.S. cultural diplomacy. Through close, theoretically informed readings of selected important works—Marianne Moore’s “Combat Cultural,” dances by George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, and Yuri Grigorovich, Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, and John Adams’s Nixon in China—Kodat questions several commonly-held beliefs about the purpose and meaning of modernist cultural productions during the Cold War.
Rather than read the dance through a received understanding of Cold War culture, Don’t Act, Just Dance reads Cold War culture through the dance, and in doing so establishes a new understanding of the politics of modernism in the arts of the period.
For at least two decades the career of Edward Said has defined what it means to be a public intellectual today. Although attacked as a terrorist and derided as a fraud for his work on behalf of his fellow Palestinians, Said’s importance extends far beyond his political activism. In this volume a distinguished group of scholars assesses nearly every aspect of Said’s work—his contributions to postcolonial theory, his work on racism and ethnicity, his aesthetics and his resistance to the aestheticization of politics, his concepts of figuration, his assessment of the role of the exile in a metropolitan culture, and his work on music and the visual arts. In two separate interviews, Said himself comments on a variety of topics, among them the response of the American Jewish community to his political efforts in the Middle East. Yet even as the Palestinian struggle finds a central place in his work, it is essential—as the contributors demonstrate—to see that this struggle rests on and gives power to his general "critique of colonizers" and is not simply the outgrowth of a local nationalism. Perhaps more than any other person in the United States, Said has changed how the U.S. media and American intellectuals must think about and represent Palestinians, Islam, and the Middle East. Most importantly, this change arises not as a result of political action but out of a potent humanism—a breadth of knowledge and insight that has nourished many fields of inquiry. Originally a special issue of boundary 2, the book includes new articles on minority culture and on orientalism in music, as well as an interview with Said by Jacqueline Rose. Supporting the claim that the last third of the twentieth century can be called the "Age of Said," this collection will enlighten and engage students in virtually any field of humanistic study.
Contributors. Jonathan Arac, Paul A. Bové, Terry Cochran, Barbara Harlow, Kojin Karatani, Rashid I. Khalidi, Sabu Kohsu, Ralph Locke, Mustapha Marrouchi, Jim Merod, W. J. T. Mitchell, Aamir R. Mufti, Jacqueline Rose, Edward W. Said, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Lindsay Waters
Empires, Nations, and Natives is a groundbreaking comparative analysis of the interplay between the practice of anthropology and the politics of empires and nation-states in the colonial and postcolonial worlds. It brings together essays that demonstrate how the production of social-science knowledge about the “other” has been inextricably linked to the crafting of government policies. Subverting established boundaries between national and imperial anthropologies, the contributors explore the role of anthropology in the shifting categorizations of race in southern Africa, the identification of Indians in Brazil, the implementation of development plans in Africa and Latin America, the construction of Mexican and Portuguese nationalism, the genesis of “national character” studies in the United States during World War II, the modernizing efforts of the French colonial administration in Africa, and postcolonial architecture.
The contributors—social and cultural anthropologists from the Americas and Europe—report on both historical and contemporary processes. Moving beyond controversies that cast the relationship between scholarship and politics in binary terms of complicity or autonomy, they bring into focus a dynamic process in which states, anthropological knowledge, and population groups themselves are mutually constructed. Such a reflexive endeavor is an essential contribution to a critical anthropological understanding of a changing world.
Contributors: Alban Bensa, Marcio Goldman, Adam Kuper, Benoît de L’Estoile, Claudio Lomnitz, David Mills, Federico Neiburg, João Pacheco de Oliveira, Jorge Pantaleón, Omar Ribeiro Thomaz, Lygia Sigaud, Antonio Carlos de Souza Lima, Florence Weber
The Fierce Urgency of Now links musical improvisation to struggles for social change, focusing on the connections between the improvisation associated with jazz and the dynamics of human rights struggles and discourses. The authors acknowledge that at first glance improvisation and rights seem to belong to incommensurable areas of human endeavor. Improvisation connotes practices that are spontaneous, personal, local, immediate, expressive, ephemeral, and even accidental, while rights refer to formal standards of acceptable human conduct, rules that are permanent, impersonal, universal, abstract, and inflexible. Yet the authors not only suggest that improvisation and rights can be connected; they insist that they must be connected.
Improvisation is the creation and development of new, unexpected, and productive cocreative relations among people. It cultivates the capacity to discern elements of possibility, potential, hope, and promise where none are readily apparent. Improvisers work with the tools they have in the arenas that are open to them. Proceeding without a written score or script, they collaborate to envision and enact something new, to enrich their experience in the world by acting on it and changing it. By analyzing the dynamics of particular artistic improvisations, mostly by contemporary American jazz musicians, the authors reveal improvisation as a viable and urgently needed model for social change. In the process, they rethink politics, music, and the connections between them.
In the twenty-first century, why do we keep talking about the Fifties and the Sixties? The stark contrast between these decades, their concurrence with the childhood and youth of the baby boomers, and the emergence of television and rock and roll help to explain their symbolic power. In Happy Days and Wonder Years, Daniel Marcus reveals how interpretations of these decades have figured in the cultural politics of the United States since 1970.
From Ronald Reagan's image as a Fifties Cold Warrior to Bill Clinton's fandom for Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy, politicians have invoked the Fifties and the Sixties to connect to their public. Marcus shows how films, television, music, and memoirs have responded to the political nostalgia of today, and why our entertainment remains immersed in reruns, revivals, and references to earlier times. This book offers a new understanding of how politics and popular culture have influenced our notions of the past, and how events from long ago continue to shape our understanding of the present day.
The double-sided nature of African nationalism—its capacity to inspire expressions of unity, and its tendency to narrow political debate—are explored by sixteen historians, focusing on the experience of Tanzania. The narrative of the nation of Tanzania, which was created by the anticolonial nationalist movement, expanded by the Union after the Zanzibar Revolution, and fused by the ideology of Ujamaa by Julius Nyerere, has shaped Tanzanian political discourse for decades, but has not obliterated the great wealth of political discourses and identities which exist within the nation.
Indians in Kenya
Sana Aiyar Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress DT433.545.E27A39 2015 | Dewey Decimal 305.891406762
Sana Aiyar chronicles the strategies by which Indians sought a political voice in Kenya, from the beginning of colonial rule to independence. She examines how the strands of Indians’ diasporic identity influenced Kenya’s leadership—from partnering with Europeans to colonize East Africa, to collaborating with Africans to battle racial inequality.
Nelly Richard is one of the most prominent cultural theorists writing in Latin America today. As a participant in Chile’s neo-avantgarde, Richard worked to expand the possibilities for cultural debate within the constraints imposed by the Pinochet dictatorship (1973–1990), and she has continued to offer incisive commentary about the country’s transition to democracy. Well known as the founder and director of the influential journal Revista de crítica cultural, based in Santiago, Richard has been central to the dissemination throughout Latin America of work by key contemporary thinkers, including Néstor García Canclini, Jacques Derrida, Fredric Jameson, and Diamela Eltit. Her own writing provides rigorous considerations of Latin American identity, postmodernism, gender, neoliberalism, and strategies of political and cultural resistance.
In The Insubordination of Signs Richard theorizes the cultural reactions—particularly within the realms of visual arts, literature, and the social sciences—to the oppression of the Chilean dictatorship. She reflects on the role of memory in the historical shadow of the military regime and on the strategies offered by marginal discourses for critiquing institutional systems of power. She considers the importance of Walter Benjamin for the theoretical self-understanding of the Latin American intellectual left, and she offers revisionary interpretations of the Chilean neo-avantgarde in terms of its relationships with the traditional left and postmodernism. Exploring the gap between Chile’s new left social sciences and its “new scene” aesthetic and critical practices, Richard discusses how, with the return of democracy, the energies that had set in motion the democratizing process seemed to exhaust themselves as cultural debate was attenuated in order to reduce any risk of a return to authoritarianism.
Israel's Dead Soul
Authored by Steven Salaita Temple University Press, 2011 Library of Congress DS134.S25 2011 | Dewey Decimal 320.54095694
In his courageous book, Israel's Dead Soul, Steven Salaita explores the failures of Zionism as a political and ethical discourse. He argues that endowing nation-states with souls is a dangerous phenomenon because it privileges institutions and corporations rather than human beings.
Asserting that Zionism has been normalized--rendered "benign" as an ideology of "multicultural conviviality"—Salaita critiques the idea that Zionism, as an exceptional ideology, leads to a lack of critical awareness of the effects of the Israeli occupation in Palestinian territory and to an unquestioning acceptance of Israel as an ethnocentric state.
Salaita's analysis targets the Anti-Defamation League, films such as Munich and Waltz with Bashir, intellectuals including Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson, gay rights activists, and other public figures who mourn the decline of Israel's "soul." His pointed account shows how liberal notions of Zionism are harmful to various movements for justice.
Among politicians of national stature today, there is perhaps none more respected as a principled conservative than Rick Santorum. In It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, Santorum articulates the humane vision that he believes must inform public policy if it is to be effective and just. An appreciation for the civic bonds that unite a community lies at the heart of genuine conservatism. Moreover, Santorum demonstrates how such an approach to political, social, and economic problems offers the most promise for those on the margin of life: the poor, the vulnerable, and minorities who have often been excluded from opportunity in America.
Santorum argues that conservative statesmanship is animated by a sense of stewardship for an inheritance. But what do we inherit as Americans? And how can we be good stewards of that inheritance? Building on Robert Putnam’s discussion of “social capital,” the habits of association and trust that are the preconditions of any decent society, Santorum assesses how well, in the past generation, Americans have cared for the “fabric” of society. He explores in detail various dimensions of social and cultural connection that are the foundation of the common good. And he presents innovative policy proposals for the renewal of American society at all levels.
Throughout his book, Santorum emphasizes the central role of the family—in contradistinction to the metaphorical “village” of the federal government, as promoted by Hillary Clinton—in achieving the common good. With a sustained argument touching on first principles throughout, this ambitious and original book is a major contribution to contemporary political debate. It Takes a Family further establishes Santorum as the leader of reform-minded civic conservatives in America.
Activists and politicians have long recognized the power of a good story to move people to action. In early 1960 four black college students sat down at a whites-only lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and refused to leave. Within a month sit-ins spread to thirty cities in seven states. Student participants told stories of impulsive, spontaneous action—this despite all the planning that had gone into the sit-ins. “It was like a fever,” they said.
Francesca Polletta’s It Was Like a Fever sets out to account for the power of storytelling in mobilizing political and social movements. Drawing on cases ranging from sixteenth-century tax revolts to contemporary debates about the future of the World Trade Center site, Polletta argues that stories are politically effective not when they have clear moral messages, but when they have complex, often ambiguous ones. The openness of stories to interpretation has allowed disadvantaged groups, in particular, to gain a hearing for new needs and to forge surprising political alliances. But popular beliefs in America about storytelling as a genre have also hurt those challenging the status quo.
A rich analysis of storytelling in courtrooms, newsrooms, public forums, and the United States Congress, It Was Like a Fever offers provocative new insights into the dynamics of culture and contention.
The Legacy of Edward W. Said
William V. Spanos University of Illinois Press, 2008 Library of Congress CB18.S25S63 2009 | Dewey Decimal 973.91092
With the untimely death of Edward W. Said in 2003, various academic and public intellectuals worldwide have begun to reassess the writings of this powerful oppositional intellectual. Figures on the neoconservative right have already begun to discredit Said’s work as that of a subversive intent on slandering America’s benign global image and undermining its global authority. On the left, a significant number of oppositional intellectuals are eager to counter this neoconservative vilification, proffering a Said who, in marked opposition to the “anti-humanism” of the great poststructuralist thinkers who were his contemporaries--Jacques Derrida, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Jacques Lacan, Louis Althusser, and Michel Foucault--reaffirms humanism and thus rejects poststructuralist theory.
In this provocative assessment of Edward Said’s lifework, William V. Spanos argues that Said’s lifelong anti-imperialist project is actually a fulfillment of the revolutionary possibilities of poststructuralist theory. Spanos examines Said, his legacy, and the various texts he wrote--including Orientalism,Culture and Imperialism, and Humanism and Democratic Criticism--that are now being considered for their lasting political impact.
Maoism at the Grassroots
Jeremy Brown Harvard University Press, 2015 Library of Congress DS777.6.M36 2015 | Dewey Decimal 951.05
Maoism at the Grassroots challenges state-centered views of China under Mao, providing insights into the lives of citizens across social strata, ethnicities, and regions. It reveals how ordinary people risked persecution and imprisonment in order to assert personal beliefs and identities, despite political repression and surveillance.
In this valuable book, ethnographer and anthropologist Brigittine French mobilizes new critical-theoretical perspectives in linguistic anthropology, applying them to the politically charged context of contemporary Guatemala. Beginning with an examination of the “nationalist project” that has been ongoing since the end of the colonial period, French interrogates the “Guatemalan/indigenous binary.” In Guatemala, “Ladino” refers to the Spanish-speaking minority of the population, who are of mixed European, usually Spanish, and indigenous ancestry; “Indian” is understood to mean the majority of Guatemala’s population, who speak one of the twenty-one languages in the Maya linguistic groups of the country, although levels of bilingualism are very high among most Maya communities. As French shows, the Guatemalan state has actively promoted a racialized, essentialized notion of “Indians” as an undifferentiated, inherently inferior group that has stood stubbornly in the way of national progress, unity, and development—which are, implicitly, the goals of “true Guatemalans” (that is, Ladinos).
French shows, with useful examples, how constructions of language and collective identity are in fact strategies undertaken to serve the goals of institutions (including the government, the military, the educational system, and the church) and social actors (including linguists, scholars, and activists). But by incorporating in-depth fieldwork with groups that speak Kaqchikel and K’iche’ along with analyses of Spanish-language discourses, Maya Ethnolinguistic Identity also shows how some individuals in urban, bilingual Indian communities have disrupted the essentializing projects of multiculturalism. And by focusing on ideologies of language, the author is able to explicitly link linguistic forms and functions with larger issues of consciousness, gender politics, social positions, and the forging of hegemonic power relations.
Mestizaje—the process of cultural, ethnic, and racial mixing of Spanish and indigenous peoples—has been central to the creation of modern national identity in Bolivia and much of Latin America. Though it originally carried negative connotations, by the early twentieth century it had come to symbolize a national unity that transcended racial divides.
Javier Sanjinés C. contends that mestizaje, rather than a merging of equals, represents a fundamentally Western perspective that excludes indigenous ways of viewing the world. In this sophisticated study he reveals how modernity in Bolivia has depended on a perception, forged during the colonial era, that local cultures need to be uplifted.
Sanjinés traces the rise of mestizaje as a defining feature of Bolivian modernism through the political struggles and upheavals of the twentieth century. He then turns this concept upside-down by revealing how the dominant discussion of mestizaje has been resisted and transformed by indigenous thinkers and activists. Rather than focusing solely on political events, Sanjinés grounds his argument in an examination of fiction, political essays, journalism, and visual art, offering a unique and masterly overview of Bolivian culture, identity, and politics.
Modern Blackness is a rich ethnographic exploration of Jamaican identity in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first. Analyzing nationalism, popular culture, and political economy in relation to one another, Deborah A. Thomas illuminates an ongoing struggle in Jamaica between the values associated with the postcolonial state and those generated in and through popular culture. Following independence in 1962, cultural and political policies in Jamaica were geared toward the development of a multiracial creole nationalism reflected in the country’s motto: “Out of many, one people.” As Thomas shows, by the late 1990s, creole nationalism was superseded by “modern blackness”—an urban blackness rooted in youth culture and influenced by African American popular culture. Expressions of blackness that had been marginalized in national cultural policy became paramount in contemporary understandings of what it was to be Jamaican.
Thomas combines historical research with fieldwork she conducted in Jamaica between 1993 and 2003. Drawing on her research in a rural hillside community just outside Kingston, she looks at how Jamaicans interpreted and reproduced or transformed on the local level nationalist policies and popular ideologies about progress. With detailed descriptions of daily life in Jamaica set against a backdrop of postcolonial nation-building and neoliberal globalization, Modern Blackness is an important examination of the competing identities that mobilize Jamaicans locally and represent them internationally.
During the 1960s a group of young artists in Japan challenged official forms of politics and daily life through interventionist art practices. William Marotti situates this phenomenon in the historical and political contexts of Japan after the Second World War and the international activism of the 1960s. The Japanese government renewed its Cold War partnership with the United States in 1960, defeating protests against a new security treaty through parliamentary action and the use of riot police. Afterward, the government promoted a depoliticized everyday world of high growth and consumption, creating a sanitized national image to present in the Tokyo Olympics of 1964. Artists were first to challenge this new political mythology. Marotti examines their political art, and the state's aggressive response to it. He reveals the challenge mounted in projects such as Akasegawa Genpei's 1,000-yen prints, a group performance on the busy Yamanote train line, and a plan for a giant guillotine in the Imperial Plaza. Focusing on the annual Yomiuri Indépendant exhibition, he demonstrates how artists came together in a playful but powerful critical art, triggering judicial and police response. Money, Trains, and Guillotines expands our understanding of the role of art in the international 1960s, and of the dynamics of art and policing in Japan.
A revealing exploration of the origins and development of People's Songs, Inc., "My Song Is My Weapon won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award. In it, Robbie Lieberman brings to life the hootenannies, concerts, and rallies of the time, paying special attention to the politics of culture of the Old Left. Her analysis of the communist movement culture, coupled with interviews with former members of People's Songs, sheds new light on Cold War America, the American Communist movement, and the experience of left-wing cultural workers.
Richard Handler’s pathbreaking study of nationalistic politics in Quebec is a striking and successful example of the new experimental type of ethnography, interdisciplinary in nature and intensively concerned with rhetoric and not only of anthropologists but also of scholars in a wide range of fields, and it is likely to stir sharp controversy.
Bringing together methodologies of history, sociology, political science, and philosophy, as well as anthropology, Handler centers on the period 1976–1984, during which the independantiste Parti Québéois was in control of the provincial government and nationalistic sentiment was especially strong. Handler draws on historical and archival research, and on interviews with Quebec and Canadian government officials, as he addresses the central question: Given the similarities between the epistemologies of both anthropology and nationalist ideology, how can one write an ethnography of nationalism that does not simply reproduce—and thereby endorse—nationalistic beliefs? Handler analyzes various responses to the nationalist vision of a threatened existence. He examines cultural tourism, ideology of the Quebec government, legislations concerning historical preservation, language legislation and policies towards immigrants and “cultural minorities.” He concludes with a thoughtful meditation on the futility of nationalisms.
No Coward Soldiers
Waldo E. Martin Harvard University Press, 2005 Library of Congress E185.6.M3625 2005 | Dewey Decimal 305.89607309045
In a vibrant and passionate exploration of the twentieth-century civil rights and black power eras in American history, Martin uses cultural politics as a lens through which to understand the African-American freedom struggle. In the transformative postwar period, the intersection between culture and politics became increasingly central to the African-American fight for equality. In freedom songs, in the exuberance of an Aretha Franklin concert, in Faith Ringgold's exploration of race and sexuality, the personal and social became the political.
In this timely study, Jeffrey C. Goldfarb explores the nature and prospects of cultural freedom by examining the conditions that favor or threaten its development in the political East and West.
Goldfarb—who examines conditions in the Soviet Union, the United States, and their respective European allies—focuses most closely upon Poland and the United States. He investigates a wide range of concrete cases, including the Polish opposition movement and Solidarity, the migration of artists, the American television and magazine industries, American philanthropy, and communist cultural conveyor belts.
From these cases, Goldfarb derives a definitive set of sociological conditions for cultural freedom: critical creativity which resists systematic constraints, continuity of cultural tradition, and a relatively autonomous public realm for the reception of culture. Cultural freedom, Goldfarb shows, is not a static state but a process of achievement. Its parameters and content are determined by social practice in cultural institutions and by their relations with other components and the totality of social structure.
So defined, cultural freedom is transformed from an ideological concept into one with real critical and analytical power. Through it we can appreciate the invisible nature of constraint in the West and the unapparent but acting supports of cultural freedom existing in socialist countries. Most importantly, Goldfarb's conclusions provide a framework for understanding more clearly than before the circumstance of cultural freedom in both East and West so that citizens may utilize their full creative abilities as they address the problems of the present day.
One of the most important stories in Latin American studies today is the emergence of left-leaning social movements sweeping across Latin America includes the mobilization of militant indigenous politics. Formed in 1995 in Ecuador to advance the interests of a variety of people’s organizations and to serve as an alternative to the country’s traditional political parties, Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Movement (Pachakutik) is an indigenist-based movement and political party.
In this critical work, Kenneth J. Mijeski and Scott H. Beck evaluate the successes and failures experienced by Ecuador’s Indians in their quest to transform the state into a participative democracy that would address the needs of the country’s long-ignored and impoverished majority, both indigenous and nonindigenous. Using a powerful statistical technique and in-depth interviews with political activists, the authors show that the political election game failed to advance the cause of either Ecuador’s poor majority or the movement’s own indigenous base.
Pachakutik and the Rise and Decline of the Ecuadorian Indigenous Movement is an extraordinarily valuable case study that examines the birth, development, and in this case, waning of Ecuador’s indigenous movement.
The mobilization of militant indigenous politics is one of the most important stories in Latin American studies today. In this critical work, Kenneth J. Mijeski and Scott H. Beck examine the rise and decline of Ecuador’s leading indigenous party, Pachakutik, as it tried to transform the state into a participative democracy.
Using in-depth interviews with political activists, as well as a powerful statistical analysis of election results, the authors show that the political election game failed to advance the causes of Ecuador’s poor or the movement’s own indigenous supporters. Pachakutik and the Rise and Decline of the Ecuadorian Indigenous Movement is an extraordinarily valuable case study of Ecuador’s indigenous movement and the challenges it still faces.
Faced with budget problems and an aging population, European governments in recent years have begun reconsidering the structure and extent of the welfare state. Guarantees and directives have given way to responsibilities and choice. This volume analyzes the effect of this change on the citizens of Germany, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. It traces the emergence of new discourses around social movements for greater independence, power, and control, and the way these discourses serve to reframe the struggle at hand. Making use of ethnographic research and policy analysis, the authors analyze the cultural transition, tensions, and trajectory of this call toward active citizenship.
In the last three decades, the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos has commanded the close scrutiny of scholars. These studies have focused on the political repression, human rights abuses, debt-driven growth model, and crony capitalism that defined Marcos’ so-called Democratic Revolution in the Philippines. But the relationship between the media and the regime’s public culture remains underexplored.
In Passionate Revolutions, Talitha Espiritu evaluates the role of political emotions in the rise and fall of the Marcos government. Focusing on the sentimental narratives and melodramatic cultural politics of the press and the cinema from 1965 to 1986, she examines how aesthetics and messaging based on heightened feeling helped secure the dictator’s control while also galvanizing the popular struggles that culminated in “people power” and government overthrow in 1986.
In analyzing news articles, feature films, cultural policy documents, and propaganda films as national allegories imbued with revolutionary power, Espiritu expands the critical discussion of dictatorships in general and Marcos’s in particular by placing Filipino popular media and the regime’s public culture in dialogue. Espiritu’s interdisciplinary approach in this illuminating case study of how melodrama and sentimentality shape political action breaks new ground in media studies, affect studies, and Southeast Asian studies.
Actor and singer Paul Robeson's performances in Othello, Show Boat, and The Emperor Jones made him famous, but his midcentury appearances in support of causes ranging from labor and civil rights to antilynching and American warmongering made him notorious. When Robeson announced at the 1949 Paris Peace Conference that it was "unthinkable" for blacks to go to war against the Soviet Union, the mainstream American press declared him insane.
Notions of Communism, blackness, and insanity were interchangeably deployed during the Cold War to discount activism such as Robeson's, just a part of an array of social and cultural practices that author Tony Perucci calls the Cold War performance complex. Focusing on two key Robeson performances---the concerts in Peekskill, New York, in 1949 and his appearance before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956---Perucci demonstrates how these performances and the government's response to them are central to understanding the history of Cold War culture in the United States. His book provides a transformative new perspective on how the struggle over the politics of performance in the 1950s was also a domestic struggle over freedom and equality. The book closely examines both of these performance events as well as artifacts from Cold War culture---including congressional documents, FBI files, foreign policy papers, the popular literature on mental illness, and government propaganda films---to study the operation of power and activism in American Cold War culture.
Yucatan has been called “a world apart”—cut off from the rest of Mexico by geography and culture. Yet, despite its peripheral location, the region experienced substantial change in the decades after independence. As elsewhere in Mexico, apostles of modernization introduced policies intended to remold Yucatan in the image of the advanced nations of the day. Indeed, modernizing change began in the late colonial era and continued throughout the 19th century as traditional patterns of land tenure were altered and efforts were made to divest the Catholic Church of its wealth and political and intellectual influence. Some changes, however, produced fierce resistance from both elites and humbler Yucatecans and modernizers were frequently forced to retreat or at least reach accommodation with their foes.
Covering topics from the early 19th century to the late 20th century, the essays in this collection illuminate both the processes of change and the negative reactions that they frequently elicited. The diversity of disciplines covered by this volume—history, anthropology, sociology, economics—illuminates at least three overriding challenges for study of the peninsula today. One is politics after the decline of the Institutional Revolutionary Party: What are the important institutions, practices, and discourses of politics in a post-postrevolutionary era? A second trend is the scholarly demystification of the Maya: Anthropologists have shown the difficulties of applying monolithic terms like Maya in a society where ethnic relations are often situational and ethnic boundaries are fluid. And a third consideration: researchers are only now beginning to grapple with the region’s transition to a post-henequen economy based on tourism, migration, and the assembly plants known as maquiladoras. Challenges from agribusiness and industry will no doubt continue to affect the peninsula’s fragile Karst topography and unique environments.
Contributors: Eric N. Baklanoff, Helen Delpar, Paul K. Eiss, Ben W. Fallaw, Gilbert M. Joseph, Marie Lapointe, Othón Baños Ramírez, Hernán Menéndez Rodríguez, Lynda S. Morrison, Terry Rugeley, Stephanie J. Smith
Soon after the disparate states of the Italian peninsula unified in the 1860s to create a single nation, the nationalist Massimo D’Azeglio is said to have remarked, “We have made Italy, now we have to make Italians.” The Pinocchio Effect draws on a remarkably broad array of sources to trace this making of a modern national identity in Italy, a subject that remains strikingly understudied in the English-speaking world of Italian studies.
Taking as her guiding metaphor the character of Pinocchio—a national icon made famous in 1881 by the eponymous children’s book—Susan Stewart-Steinberg argues that just like the renowned puppet, modern Italians were caught in a complex interplay between freely chosen submission and submission demanded by an outside force. In doing so, she explores all the ways that identity was constructed through newly formed attachments, voluntary and otherwise, to the young nation. Featuring deft readings of the period’s most important Italian cultural and social thinkers—including the theorist of mass psychology Scipio Sighele, the authors Matilde Serao and Edmondo De Amicis, the criminologist Cesare Lombroso, and the pedagogue Maria Montessori—Stewart-Steinberg’s richly multidisciplinary book will set a new standard in Italian studies.
The Politics of Research
Levine, George Rutgers University Press, 1997 Library of Congress AZ188.U5P65 1997 | Dewey Decimal 001.30720973
"Eloquent, provocative, and timely, these essays provide a thoughtful, undoctrinaire defense of the centrality of the humanities to higher education--and society--at the millennium."--Cora Kaplan, University of Southampton The crisis in the humanities and higher education intensifies daily. The partisan din drowns out the voices of those thinkers who have resisted the seductions of strong ideology. Against the tendencies of the extreme attacks on higher education from the right and the counterattacks from the left, many academics would prefer to get beyond critical fashions and easy slogans. In this collection, leading scholars demonstrate how the current furor threatens the critical analysis of culture, so vital to a healthy society. They explore the historical sources of the crisis, the relations between politics and research, the responsibilities and possibilities of the academic intellectual, the structure of the institution of the university, the functions and achievements of the humanities, and the development of interdisciplinarity as a catalyst for change. This volume is a necessary resource for understanding the current crisis and for transforming the academy as we approach the twenty-first century. The contributors are Jonathan Arac, Lauren Berlant, Peter Brooks, Roman de la Campa, Myra Jehlen, Stanley Katz, Richard Kramer, Dominick LaCapra, George Levine, Ellen Messer-Davidow, Helene Moglen, Bill Readings, and Bruce Robbins. E. Ann Kaplan is the director of The Humanities Institute at the State University of New York at Stony Brook
Political change doesn’t always begin with a bang; it often starts with just a whisper. From the discussions around kitchen tables that led to the dismantling of the Soviet bloc to the more recent emergence of Internet initiatives like MoveOn.org and Redeem the Vote that are revolutionizing the American political landscape, consequential political life develops in small spaces where dialogue generates political power.
In The Politics of Small Things, Jeffrey Goldfarb provides an innovative way for understanding politics, a way of appreciating the significance of politics at the micro level by comparatively analyzing key turning points and institutions in recent history. He presents a sociology of human interactions that lead from small to large: dissent around the old Soviet bloc; life on the streets in Warsaw, Prague, and Bucharest in 1989; the network of terror that spawned 9/11; and the religious and Internet mobilizations that transformed the 2004 presidential election, to name a few. In such pivotal moments, he masterfully shows, political autonomy can be generated, presenting alternatives to the big politics of the global stage and the dominant narratives of terrorism, antiterrorism, and globalization.
Populism and Performance in the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela explains how supporters of the emergent socialism of Hugo Chávez negotiated terms of national belonging and participatory democracy through performance. By foregrounding populism as an embodied act, Angela Marino draws attention to repertoires of populism that contributed to what is arguably the most significant social movement in the Americas since the Cuban Revolution.
Based on ethnographic and archival research, Marino focuses on performances of the devil figure, tracing this beloved trickster through religious fiestas, mid-century theater and film, and other media as it both antagonizes and unifies a movement against dictatorship and neoliberalism. She then demonstrates that performance became a vehicle through which cultural producers negotiated boundaries of inclusion and exclusion in ways that overcame the simplistic logic of good versus evil, us versus them. The result is a nuanced insight into the process of building political mobilization out of crisis and through monumental times of change.
The book will interest readers of Latin American politics, cultural studies, political science, and performance studies by providing a vital record of the revolution, with valuable insights into its internal dynamics and lessons towards building a populist movement of the left in contentious times.
In Postsocialism and Cultural Politics, Xudong Zhang offers a critical analysis of China’s “long 1990s,” the tumultuous years between the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001. The 1990s were marked by Deng Xiaoping’s market-oriented reforms, the Taiwan missile crisis, the Asian financial crisis, and the end of British colonial rule of Hong Kong. Considering developments including the state’s cultivation of a market economy, the aggressive neoliberalism that accompanied that effort, the rise of a middle class and a consumer culture, and China’s entry into the world economy, Zhang argues that Chinese socialism is not over. Rather it survives as postsocialism, which is articulated through the discourses of postmodernism and nationalism and through the co-existence of multiple modes of production and socio-cultural norms. Highlighting China’s uniqueness, as well as the implications of its recent experiences for the wider world, Zhang suggests that Chinese postsocialism illuminates previously obscure aspects of the global shift from modernity to postmodernity.
Zhang examines the reactions of intellectuals, authors, and filmmakers to the cultural and political conflicts in China during the 1990s. He offers a nuanced assessment of the changing divisions and allegiances within the intellectual landscape, and he analyzes the postsocialist realism of the era through readings of Mo Yan’s fiction and the films of Zhang Yimou. With Postsocialism and Cultural Politics, Zhang applies the same keen insight to China’s long 1990s that he brought to bear on the 1980s in Chinese Modernism in the Era of Reforms.
At the age of twenty-five, Primo Levi was sent to Hell. Levi, an Italian chemist from Turin, was one of many swept up in the Holocaust of World War II and sent to die in the German concentration camp in Auschwitz. Of the 650 people transported to the camp in his group, only 15 men and 9 women survived. After Soviet liberation of the camp in 1945, Levi wrote books, essays, short stories, poetry, and a novel, in which he painstakingly described the horrors of his experience at Auschwitz. He also spent the rest of his life struggling with the fact that he was not among those who were killed.
In Primo Levi and the Politics of Survival, Frederic D. Homer looks at Primo Levi's life but, more important, shows him to be a significant political philosopher. In the course of his writings, Levi asked and answered his most haunting question: can someone be brutalized by a terrifying experience and, upon return to "ordinary life," recover from the physical and moral destruction he has suffered? Levi used this question to develop a philosophy positing that although man is no match for life, he can become better prepared to contend with the tragedies in life.
According to Levi, the horrors of the world occur because of the strength of human tendencies, which make relationships between human beings exceedingly fragile. He believed that we are ill-constituted beings who have tendencies toward violence and domination, dividing ourselves into Us and Them, with very shallow loyalties. He also maintained that our only refuge is in education and responsibility, which may counter these tendencies. Homer calls Levi's philosophy "optimistic pessimism."
As Homer demonstrates, Levi took his past experiences into account to determine that goodwill and democratic institutions do not come easily to people. Liberal society is to be earned through discipline and responsibility toward our weaknesses. Levi's answer is "civilized liberalism." To achieve this we must counter some of our most stubborn tendencies.
Homer also explores the impact of Levi's death, an apparent suicide, on the way in which his work and theories have been perceived. While several critics discount Levi's work because of the nature of his death, Homer argues that his death is consistent with his philosophy. A book rich in brutally honest philosophy, Primo Levi and the Politics of Survival compels one to look at serious questions about life, tragedy, optimism, solidarity, violence, and human nature.
Daniel Lerner's 1958 book The Passing of Traditional Society was central in shaping Cold War–era ideas about the use of mass media and culture to promote social and economic progress in postcolonial nations. Based on a study of the effectiveness of propaganda in the Middle East, Lerner’s book claimed that exposure to American media messages could motivate “traditional” people in the postcolonial nations to become “modern” by cultivating empathy for American ideas, goods, and ways of life.
The Production of Modernization examines Lerner’s writings to construct the intellectual trajectory of his thinking about mass media and modernization up to and beyond the publication of his famous book. Shah has written not just an intellectual biography of Lerner but also a history of the discipline he shaped.
Edited by Daniel C. Brouwer and Robert Asen University of Alabama Press, 2010 Library of Congress JA75.7.P83 2010 | Dewey Decimal 306.20973
This book explores the ways that scholars, journalists, politicians, and citizens conceive of “the public” or “public life,” and how those entities are defined and invented. For decades, scholars have used the metaphors of spheres, systems, webs, or networks to talk about, describe, and map various practices. This volume proposes a new metaphor—modalities—to suggest that publics are forever in flux, and much more fluid and dynamic than the static models of systems or spheres would indicate—especially in the digital age, where various publics rapidly evolve and dissipate.
Contributors to the volume—employing approaches from the fields of communication studies, English, sociology, psychology, and history—explore a broad range of texts and artifacts that give rise to publics, and discuss what they reveal about conceptualizations of social space. By focusing on process in public engagement, these scholars highlight questions of how people advance their interests and identities, and how they adapt to situational constraints.
Bringing together scholars in rhetorical, cultural, and media studies, this collection of new case studies illustrates a modalities approach to the study of publics. These case studies explore the implications of different ways of forming publics, including alternative means of expression (protests, culture jamming); the intersection of politics and consumerism (how people express their identities and interests through their consumer behavior); and online engagement (blogs as increasingly important public fora). In doing so, they raise important questions of access, community, and political efficacy.
In Quantum Anthropologies, the renowned feminist theorist Vicki Kirby contends that some of the most provocative aspects of deconstruction have yet to be explored. Deconstruction’s implications have been curtailed by the assumption that issues of textuality and representation are specific to the domain of culture. Revisiting Derrida’s claim that there is “no outside of text,” Kirby argues that theories of cultural construction developed since the linguistic turn have inadvertently reproduced the very binaries they intended to question, such as those between nature and culture, matter and ideation, and fact and value. Through new readings of Derrida, Husserl, Saussure, Butler, Irigaray, and Merleau-Ponty, Kirby exposes the limitations of theories that regard culture as a second-order system that cannot access—much less be—nature, body, and materiality. She suggests ways of reconceiving language and culture to enable a more materially implicated outcome, one that keeps alive the more counterintuitive and challenging aspects of poststructural criticism. By demonstrating how fields, including cybernetics, biology, forensics, mathematics, and physics, can be conceptualized in deconstructive terms, Kirby fundamentally rethinks deconstruction and its relevance to nature, embodiment, materialism, and science.
Reading North by South was first published in 1995. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Neil Larsen is concerned with misleading interpretations of literature and culture that dominate Latin American studies in North America. In Reading North by South he attempts to correct the distorted views that have prevailed by proposing the need for a freshly conceived historical materialist approach to Latin American texts and cultural practices.
Reading North by South opens with reflections on how North America has read Latin America since the advent of popular fiction from authors like Cortázar and García Márquez. Larsen argues that the North American academy tends to interpret Latin American texts through a postmodern lens of cultural politics that ignores historical realism, and he contends that more attention needs to be paid to historical and class issues. He provides insightful commentaries on political discourses, cultural events, films, and literary texts, and maintains that the canonization of the modernist aesthetic in the United States has resulted in a marginalization of writers and writing that reflect the historical realities of Latin American politics.
As it analyzes important points of debate within and outside of Latin American studies, Reading North by South draws upon a wide diversity of texts written in Portuguese, Spanish and English. Of particular interest is Larsen's discussion of writings from the Caribbean, an area that is not frequently included in Latin American studies. Reading North by South will lead readers to question the expectations and preconceptions that inform their readings of Latin American literature.
Neil Larsen is associate professor of Spanish and Latin American literature at Northeastern University. He is the author of Modernism and Hegemony: A Materialist Critique of Aesthetic Agencies (Minnesota, 1990), and editor of The Discourse of Power: Culture, Hegemony, and the Authoritarian State in Latin America (1983).
The final destination of the Long March and center of the Chinese Communist Party's red bases, Yan'an acquired mythical status during the Maoist era. Though the city's significance as an emblem of revolutionary heroism has faded, today's Chinese still glorify Yan'an as a sanctuary for ancient cultural traditions. Ka-ming Wu's ethnographic account of contemporary Yan'an documents how people have reworked the revival of three rural practices--paper-cutting, folk storytelling, and spirit cults--within (and beyond) the socialist legacy. Moving beyond dominant views of Yan'an folk culture as a tool of revolution or object of market reform, Wu reveals how cultural traditions become battlegrounds where conflicts among the state, market forces, and intellectuals in search of an authentic China play out. At the same time, she shows these emerging new dynamics in the light of the ways rural residents make sense of rapid social change. Alive with details, Reinventing Chinese Tradition is an in-depth, eye-opening study of an evolving culture and society within contemporary China.
Repression, Exile, and Democracy, translated from the Spanish, is the first work to examine the impact of dictatorship on Uruguyan culture. Some of Uruguay's best-known poets, writers of fiction, playwrights, literary critics and social scientists participate in this multidisciplinary study, analyzing how varying cultural expressions have been affected by conditions of censorship, exile and "insilio" (internal exile), torture, and death. The first section provides a context for the volume, with its analyses of the historical, political, and social aspects of the Uruguayan experience. The following chapters explore various aspects of cultural production, including personal experiences of exile and imprisonment, popular music, censorship, literary criticism, return from exile, and the role that culture plays in redemocratization. This book's appeal extends well beyond the study of Uruguay to scholars and students of the history and culture of other Latin American nations, as well as to fields of comparative literature and politics in general.
Contributors. Hugo Achugar, Alvarro Barros-Lémez, Lisa Block de Behar, Amanda Berenguer, Hiber Conteris, José Pedro Díaz, Eduardo Galeano, Edy Kaufman, Leo Masliah, Carina Perelli, Teresa Porzecanski, Juan Rial, Mauricio Rosencof, Jorge Ruffinelli, Saúl Sosonowski, Martin Weinstein, Ruben Yáñez
Marxism was the loser in the Cold War, but Oleg Kharkhordin is not surprised that liberal democracy failed to take root after the Soviet Union’s dissolution. He suggests that Russians find a path to freedom by looking to the classical tradition of republican self-government and civic engagement already familiar from their history and literature.
Published in China in 2010, Revolution and Its Narratives is a historical, literary, and critical account of the cultural production of the narratives of China's socialist revolution. Through theoretical, empirical, and textual analysis of major and minor novels, dramas, short stories, and cinema, Cai Xiang offers a complex study that exceeds the narrow confines of existing views of socialist aesthetics. By engaging with the relationship among culture, history, and politics in the context of the revolutionary transformation of Chinese society and arts, Cai illuminates the utopian promise as well as the ultimate impossibility of socialist cultural production. Translated, annotated, and edited by Rebecca E. Karl and Xueping Zhong, this translation presents Cai's influential work to English-language readers for the first time.
In Revolutionary Nativism Maggie Clinton traces the history and cultural politics of fascist organizations that operated under the umbrella of the Chinese Nationalist Party (GMD) during the 1920s and 1930s. Clinton argues that fascism was not imported to China from Europe or Japan; rather it emerged from the charged social conditions that prevailed in the country's southern and coastal regions during the interwar period. These fascist groups were led by young militants who believed that reviving China's Confucian "national spirit" could foster the discipline and social cohesion necessary to defend China against imperialism and Communism and to develop formidable industrial and military capacities, thereby securing national strength in a competitive international arena. Fascists within the GMD deployed modernist aesthetics in their literature and art while justifying their anti-Communist violence with nativist discourse. Showing how the GMD's fascist factions popularized a virulently nationalist rhetoric that linked Confucianism with a specific path of industrial development, Clinton sheds new light on the complex dynamics of Chinese nationalism and modernity.
India’s sacred Ganga River is arguably one of the most iconic sites for worship, with a continuity of rituals for the living and the dead that span over two millennia. Along the river, from high in the Himalaya to the vast plains below, people gather daily to worship the Ganga through prayer and song. But large government-sponsored dams threaten to upend these practices.
In River Dialogues, Georgina Drew offers a detailed ethnographic engagement with the social movements contesting hydroelectric development on the Ganga. The book examines the complexity of the cultural politics that, on the one hand, succeeded in influencing an unprecedented reversal of government plans for three contested hydroelectric projects, and how, on the other hand, this decision sparked ripples of discontent after being paired with the declaration of a conservation zone where the projects were situated.
The book follows the work of women who were initially involved in efforts to stop the disputed projects. After looking to their discourses and actions, Drew argues for the use of a political ecology analysis that incorporates the everyday practice and everyday religious connections that animated the cultural politics of development. Drew offers a nuanced understanding of the struggles that communities enact to assert their ways of knowing and caring for resources that serves as an example for others critically engaging with the growing global advocacy of the “green economy” model for environmental stewardship.
When Pope Francis recently answered “Who am I to judge?” when asked about homosexuality, he ushered in a new era for the Catholic church. A decade ago, it would have been unthinkable for a pope to express tolerance for homosexuality. Yet shifts of this kind are actually common in the history of Christian groups. Within the United States, Christian leaders have regularly revised their teachings to match the beliefs and opinions gaining support among their members and larger society.
Mark A. Smith provocatively argues that religion is not nearly the unchanging conservative influence in American politics that we have come to think it is. In fact, in the long run, religion is best understood as responding to changing political and cultural values rather than shaping them. Smith makes his case by charting five contentious issues in America’s history: slavery, divorce, homosexuality, abortion, and women’s rights. For each, he shows how the political views of even the most conservative Christians evolved in the same direction as the rest of society—perhaps not as swiftly, but always on the same arc. During periods of cultural transition, Christian leaders do resist prevailing values and behaviors, but those same leaders inevitably acquiesce—often by reinterpreting the Bible—if their positions become no longer tenable. Secular ideas and influences thereby shape the ways Christians read and interpret their scriptures.
So powerful are the cultural and societal norms surrounding us that Christians in America today hold more in common morally and politically with their atheist neighbors than with the Christians of earlier centuries. In fact, the strongest predictors of people’s moral beliefs are not their religious commitments or lack thereof but rather when and where they were born. A thoroughly researched and ultimately hopeful book on the prospects for political harmony, Secular Faith demonstrates how, over the long run, boundaries of secular and religious cultures converge.
The Short American Century
Andrew J. Bacevich Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress E169.12.S5152 2012 | Dewey Decimal 973.91
In February 1941, Henry Luce announced the arrival of “The American Century.” But that century—extending from World War II to the recent economic collapse—has now ended, victim of strategic miscalculation, military misadventures, and economic decline. Here some of America’s most distinguished historians place the century in historical perspective.
While Karnatic music, a form of Indian music based on the melodic principle of raga and time cycles called tala, is known today as South India’s classical music, its status as “classical” is an early-twentieth-century construct, one that emerged in the crucible of colonial modernity, nationalist ideology, and South Indian regional politics. As Amanda J. Weidman demonstrates, in order for Karnatic music to be considered classical music, it needed to be modeled on Western classical music, with its system of notation, composers, compositions, conservatories, and concerts. At the same time, it needed to remain distinctively Indian. Weidman argues that these contradictory imperatives led to the emergence of a particular “politics of voice,” in which the voice came to stand for authenticity and Indianness.
Combining ethnographic observation derived from her experience as a student and performer of South Indian music with close readings of archival materials, Weidman traces the emergence of this politics of voice through compelling analyses of the relationship between vocal sound and instrumental imitation, conventions of performance and staging, the status of women as performers, debates about language and music, and the relationship between oral tradition and technologies of printing and sound reproduction. Through her sustained exploration of the way “voice” is elaborated as a trope of modern subjectivity, national identity, and cultural authenticity, Weidman provides a model for thinking about the voice in anthropological and historical terms. In so doing, she shows that modernity is characterized as much by particular ideas about orality, aurality, and the voice as it is by regimes of visuality.
The reunification of Germany in 1989 may have put an end to the experiment in East German communism, but its historical assessment is far from over. Where most of the literature over the past two decades has been driven by the desire to uncover the relationship between power and resistance, complicity and consent, more recent scholarship tends to concentrate on the everyday history of East German citizens.
This volume builds on the latest literature by exploring the development and experience of life in East Germany, with a particular view toward addressing the question: What did modernity mean for the East German state and society? As such, the collection moves beyond the conceptual divide between state-level politics and everyday life to sharply focus on the specific contours of the GDR's unique experiment in Cold War socialism. What unites all the essays is the question of how the very tensions around "socialist modernity" shaped the views, memories, and actions of East Germans over four decades.
"An impressive volume drawing together rich, diverse essays by some of the most interesting, well-known, and experienced scholars on the GDR in the field, on both sides of the Atlantic."
---Dr. Jan Palmowski, Senior Lecturer in European Studies at King's College London, and Review Editor for German History
"Delving into many sides of the GDR modern, Pence and Betts present both new empirical evidence and offer insightful theoretical perspectives. The idea of the 'Socialist Modern' provides an excellent conceptual framework; the focus on culture fills a hole in the literature, the introduction is theoretically sophisticated and well-grounded in the historiography, and the span and heterogeneity of the articles are impressive."
---Donna Harsch, Associate Professor of History, Carnegie Mellon University
Katherine Pence is Assistant Professor of History, Baruch College, City University of New York.
Paul Betts is Reader in Modern German History, University of Sussex, Brighton, England.
Speaking Soviet with an Accent presents the first English-language study of Soviet culture clubs in Kyrgyzstan. These clubs profoundly influenced the future of Kyrgyz cultural identity and fostered the work of many artists, such as famed novelist Chingiz Aitmatov.
Based on extensive oral history and archival research, Ali Igmen follows the rise of culture clubs beginning in the 1920s, when they were established to inculcate Soviet ideology and create a sedentary lifestyle among the historically nomadic Kyrgyz people. These “Red clubs” are fondly remembered by locals as one of the few places where lively activities and socialization with other members of their ail (village or tribal unit) could be found.
Through lectures, readings, books, plays, concerts, operas, visual arts, and cultural Olympiads, locals were exposed to Soviet notions of modernization. But these programs also encouraged the creation of a newfound “Kyrgyzness” that preserved aspects of local traditions and celebrated the achievements of Kyrgyz citizens in the building of a new state. These ideals proved appealing to many Kyrgyz, who, for centuries, had seen riches and power in the hands of a few tribal chieftains and Russian imperialists.
This book offers new insights into the formation of modern cultural identity in Central Asia. Here, like their imperial predecessors, the Soviets sought to extend their physical borders and political influence. But Igmen also reveals the remarkable agency of the Kyrgyz people, who employed available resources to meld their own heritage with Soviet and Russian ideologies and form artistic expressions that continue to influence Kyrgyzstan today.
"Now everybody loves Puerto Rican culture," says a Puerto Rican schoolteacher and festival organizer, "but that's exactly the problem." Thus begins this major examination of cultural nationalism as a political construct involving party ideologies, corporate economic goals, and grassroots cultural groups.
Author Arlene Davila focuses on the Institute for Puerto Rican Culture, the government institution charged with defining authenticated views of national identity since the 1950s, and on popular festival organizers to illuminate contestations over appropriate representations of culture in the increasingly mass-mediated context of contemporary Puerto Rico. She examines the creation of an essentialist view of nationhood based on a peasant culture and a "unifying" Hispanic heritage, and the ways in which grassroots organizations challenge and reconfigure definitions of national identity through their own activities and representations.
Davila pays particular attention to the increasing prominence of corporate sponsorship in determining what is distinguished as authentic "Puerto Rican culture" and discusses the politicization of culture as a discourse to debate and legitimize conflicting claims from selling commercial product to advocating divergent status options for the island. In so doing, Davila illuminates the prospects for cultural identities in an increasingly transnational context by showing the growth of cultural nationalism to be intrinsically connected to forms of political action directed to the realm of culture and cultural politics. This in-depth examination also makes clear that despite contemporary concerns with "authenticity," commercialism is an inescapable aspect of all cultural expression on the island.
In The Suburb of Dissent Caren Irr explores the leftist literary subculture of the United States and Canada during the 1930s to reconstruct the ideas of mass culture, class, and nationality that emerged as a result of the Great Depression. Unearthing plots and characters that still surface in contemporary narratives, Irr juxtaposes classic and neglected works of criticism, fiction, poetry, and journalism and demonstrates how leftist writers resisted totalitarianism much more thoroughly than Cold War accounts would suggest. Irr highlights works by Richard Wright, John Dos Passos, Nathanael West, and others to uncover the complex relationship between American anti-communism and communist anti-Americanism. In an unprecedented move, she extends her inquiry to the work of Canadian intellectuals such as Dorothy Livesay and Hugh MacLennan to reveal the important yet overlooked fact that the territory at the border of the United States and Canada provided a vital contact zone and transnational “home” for leftist thinkers. Attending to intersections of race, ethnicity, and gender, Irr illustrates the ways dissenting writers made culture actively respond to the political crises of the Great Depression and questioned the nature of what it means to be “American.” Drawing on insights from postcolonial and American studies and taking into account the intellectual and cultural dimensions of leftist politics, The Suburb of Dissent is the first study of the 1930s to bring together U.S. and Canadian writings. In doing so, it reveals how the unique culture of the left contributed to North American history at this critical juncture and beyond.
"There is a North"
John L. Brooke University of Massachusetts Press, 2019 Library of Congress E449.B869 2019 | Dewey Decimal 973.711
How does political change take hold? In the 1850s, politicians and abolitionists despaired, complaining that the “North, the poor timid, mercenary, driveling North” offered no forceful opposition to the power of the slaveholding South. And yet, as John L. Brooke proves, the North did change. Inspired by brave fugitives who escaped slavery and the cultural craze that was Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the North rose up to battle slavery, ultimately waging the bloody Civil War.
While Lincoln’s alleged quip about the little woman who started the big war has been oft-repeated, scholars have not fully explained the dynamics between politics and culture in the decades leading up to 1861. Rather than simply viewing the events of the 1850s through the lens of party politics, “There Is a North” is the first book to explore how cultural action—including minstrelsy, theater, and popular literature—transformed public opinion and political structures. Taking the North’s rallying cry as his title, Brooke shows how the course of history was forever changed.
In this original study, Jorge A. Nállim chronicles the decline of liberalism in Argentina during the volatile period between two military coups—the 1930 overthrow of
Hipólito Yrigoyen and the deposing of Juan Perón in 1955. While historians have primarily focused on liberalism in economic or political contexts, Nállim instead documents a wide range of locations where liberalism was claimed and ultimately marginalized in the pursuit of individual agendas.
Nállim shows how concepts of liberalism were espoused by various groups who “invented traditions” to legitimatize their methods of political, religious, class, intellectual, or cultural hegemony. In these deeply fractured and corrupt processes, liberalism lost political favor and alienated the public. These events also set the table for Peronism and stifled the future of progressive liberalism in Argentina.
Nállim describes the main political parties of the period and deconstructs their liberal discourses. He also examines major cultural institutions and shows how each attached liberalism to their cause.
Nállim compares and contrasts the events in Argentina to those in other Latin American nations and reveals their links to international developments. While critics have positioned the rhetoric of liberalism during this period as one of decadence or irrelevance, Nállim instead shows it to be a vital and complex factor in the metamorphosis of modern history in Argentina and Latin America as well.
From fiddle tunes to folk ballads, from banjos to blues, traditional music thrives in the remote mountains and hollers of West Virginia. For a quarter century, Goldenseal magazine has given its readers intimate access to the lives and music of folk artists from across this pivotal state. Now the best of Goldenseal is gathered for the first time in this richly illustrated volume. Some of the country's finest folklorists take us through the backwoods and into the homes of such artists as fiddlers Clark Kessinger and U.S. Senator Robert Byrd, recording stars Lynn Davis and Molly O'Day, dulcimer master Russell Fluharty, National Heritage Fellowship recipient Melvin Wine, bluesman Nat Reese, and banjoist Sylvia O'Brien.
The most complete survey to date of the vibrant strands of this music and its colorful practitioners, Mountains of Music delineates a unique culture where music and music making are part of an ancient and treasured heritage. The sly humor, strong faith, clear regional identity, and musical convictions of these performers draw the reader into families and communities bound by music from one generation to another. For devotees as well as newcomers to this infectiously joyous and heartfelt music, Mountains of Music captures the strength of tradition and the spontaneous power of living artistry.
During the last two decades, many U.S. universities have restructured themselves to operate more like corporations. Nowhere has this process been more dramatic than at New York University, which has often been touted as an exemplar of the "corporate university." Over the same period, an academic labor movement has arisen in response to this corporatization. Using the unprecedented 2005 strike by the graduate student union at NYU as a springboard, The University Against Itself provides a brief history of labor organizing on American campuses, analyzes the state of academic labor today, and speculates about how the university workplace may evolve for employees.
All of the contributors were either participants in the NYU strike -- graduate students, faculty, and organizers -- or are nationally recognized as writers on academic labor. They are deeply troubled by the ramifications of corporatizing universities. Here they spell out their concerns, offering lessons from one historic strike as well as cautions about the future of all universities.
Contributors include: Stanley Aronowitz, Barbara Bowen, Andrew Cornell, Ashley Dawson, Stephen Duncombe, Steve Fletcher, Greg Grandin, Adam Green, Kitty Krupat, Gordon Lafer, Micki McGee, Sarah Nash, Cary Nelson, Matthew Osypowski, Ed Ott, Ellen Schrecker, Susan Valentine, and the editors.
Beginning in the early 1980s Aboriginal Australians found in music, radio, and filmic media a means to make themselves heard across the country and to insert themselves into the center of Australian political life. In The Voice and Its Doubles Daniel Fisher analyzes the great success of this endeavor, asking what is at stake in the sounds of such media for Aboriginal Australians. Drawing on long-term ethnographic research in northern Australia, Fisher describes the close proximity of musical media, shifting forms of governmental intervention, and those public expressions of intimacy and kinship that suffuse Aboriginal Australian social life. Today’s Aboriginal media include genres of country music and hip-hop; radio requests and broadcast speech; visual graphs of a digital audio timeline; as well as the statistical media of audience research and the discursive and numerical figures of state audits and cultural policy formation. In each of these diverse instances the mediatized voice has become a site for overlapping and at times discordant forms of political, expressive, and institutional creativity.
In Wedded to the Land? Mary N. Layoun offers a critical commentary on the idea of nationalism in general and on specific attempts to formulate alternatives to the concept in particular. Narratives surrounding three geographically and temporally different national crises form the center of her study: Greek refugees’ displacement from Asia Minor into Greece in 1922, the 1974 right-wing Cypriot coup and subsequent Turkish invasion of Cyprus, and the Palestinian and PLO expulsion from Beirut following the Israeli invasion in 1982. Drawing on readings of literature and of official documents and decrees, songs, poetry, cinema, public monuments, journalism, and conversations with exiles, refugees, and public officials, Layoun uses each historical incident as a means of highlighting a recurring trope within constructs of nationalism. The displacement of the Greek refugees in the 1920s calls into question the very idea of home, as well as the desire for ethnic homogeneity within nations. She reads the Cypriot coup and invasion as an illustration of the gendering of nation and how the notion of the inviolable woman came to represent sovereignity. In her third example she shows how the Palestinian and PLO expulsion from Beirut highlights the ambiguity of the borders upon which many manifestations of nationalism putatively depend. These chapters are preceded and introduced by a discussion of “culturing the nation” and closed by a consideration of citizenship and silence in which Layoun discusses rights ostensibly possessed by all members of a political community. This book will be of interest to scholars engaged in cultural and critical theory, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean history, literary studies, political science, postcolonial studies, and gender studies.
Why did America invade Iraq? Why do nations choose to fight certain wars and not others? How do we bring ourselves to believe that the sacrifice of our troops is acceptable? For most, the answers to these questions are tied to struggles for power or resources and the machinations of particular interest groups. Philip Smith argues that this realist answer to the age-old "why war?" question is insufficient. Instead, Smith suggests that every war has its roots in the ways we tell and interpret stories.
Comprised of case studies of the War in Iraq, the Gulf War, and the Suez Crisis, Why War? decodes the cultural logic of the narratives that justify military action. Each nation, Smith argues, makes use of binary codes—good and evil, sacred and profane, rational and irrational, to name a few. These codes, in the hands of political leaders, activists, and the media, are deployed within four different types of narratives—mundane, tragic, romantic, or apocalyptic. With this cultural system, Smith is able to radically recast our "war stories" and show how nations can have vastly different understandings of crises as each identifies the relevant protagonists and antagonists, objects of struggle, and threats and dangers.
The large-scale sacrifice of human lives necessary in modern war, according to Smith, requires an apocalyptic vision of world events. In the case of the War in Iraq, for example, he argues that the United States and Britain replicated a narrative of impending global doom from the Gulf War. But in their apocalyptic account they mistakenly made the now seemingly toothless Saddam Hussein once again a symbol of evil by writing him into the story alongside al Qaeda, resulting in the war's contestation in the United States, Britain, and abroad.
Offering an innovative approach to understanding how major wars are packaged, sold, and understood, Why War? will be applauded by anyone with an interest in military history, political science, cultural studies, and communication.
Worlds of Dissent
Jonathan Bolton Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress DB2228.7.B65 2012 | Dewey Decimal 943.7043
Worlds of Dissent analyzes the myths of Czech resistance popularized by Western journalists and historians, and replaces these heroic victory narratives with a picture of the struggle against state repression as dissidents themselves understood and lived it. Their diaries, letters, and essays convey the texture of dissent in a closed society.